We’re hearing more about genome sequencing. More than 12M people have taken very basic genetic tests through direct-to-consumer services like 23andme. Last month, the British Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, laid out plans to undertake whole genome sequencing for all children at birth.
I took the opportunity to speak to a couple of friends who understand this topic to explore what it really meant:
- Martin Varsavsky is one of Spain’s leading entrepreneurs, who most recently founded two businesses in the fertility space, Prelude and Overture Life.
- Vishal Gulati trained as a physician before moving into genomics. He now works as a venture capitalist on the frontier of health and data.
We have a fascinating discussion on the practicalities of rolling out population-wide genome sequencing. There are many hurdles: it isn’t just about the declining cost of technology. It might be that newborns are the wrong cohort to start with. Perhaps this should start with older people. We need to consider how hard it is for ordinary people to understand a genomic report and what kind of regulatory and privacy framework might be necessary.
Enjoy the discussion!
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